The Vatican sent out questionnaires to bishops across the globe asking them what their parishioners think about modern family issues like gay marriage, divorce, and contraception.
While the Vatican says it’s simply a series of questions sent out before a key conference next October, many believe it has been distributed “as widely as possible” in order to aid Pope Francis in his reformation of the Church.
The questionnaire asks what difficulties clergy is encountering among their flock by teaching Church doctrine. It asks 39 questions including thoughts on surrogate mothers, single-parent families, polygamy, interfaith marriage, “hostile” forms of feminism and secularism.
"Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation ... to same-sex unions," the questionnaire said.
It asks "what pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live (in same-sex) union(s)" and "what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith" among families with same-sex parents?
The Vatican wants to know if the Catholic teachings of the sanctity of the family and divorce is “accepted fully or are there difficulties in putting it into practice?”
It refers to "a culture of non-commitment" in marriage, resulting in sing-parent families. It asks if members of the church feel marginalized after getting divorces because they can no longer take communion.
It also asks if the “moral teaching” of artificial contraception is “accepted” from region to region.
Many believe this is the beginning of the Catholic church updating its definition of the modern family.
Francis has made open-minded statements towards homosexuality previously.
"If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?" he said during a week-long trip to Brazil in July.